Friday, December 9, 2011

Black Cat Pottery Holiday Open House - Meet the Artists: Charlie Palazzola

Charlie in his studio
That's right - only one day until the Second Annual Black Cat Pottery Holiday Open House on December 10 (10a-4p), during which we open up the studio to fellow local artists and all of our fans for a day of holiday cheer! This year, we'll be featuring artisan baked goods and live music, in addition to five unique garden- and home-inspired artists. This is the last in a series of posts introducing the artists contributing to the event - a series of posts intended to introduce them to you so you could get to know each of these amazingly creative and generous folks a little bit better.

Charlie Palazzola is a Detroit-based singer, songwriter and fine artist.  He was heavily influenced during the 1960s by local AM Radio and performers such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, the Motown sound and the diverse and original talents of that era. In the 1970s, his interests expanded to include an interest in singer/songwriters and soul artists on FM Radio including James Taylor, Elton John and Al Green, as well as rock groups such as The Who and Pink Floyd. Sequeing into the 1980s, Charlie continued to develop his guitar "chops" with significant influence from musicians including Jeff Beck and Keith Richards as his individual style continued to evolve. Charlie honed his musical talents in numerous bands during his early career, including Funkster, Tin Soldier and Blue Room, each with its own distinct sound and personality, each a platform for Charlie's eclectic musical influences and talents.

Self Portrait. 2011.
In a break from his musical evolution, in the 1990s Charlie chose to fully embrace his long- time interests and talents in the visual arts, eventually graduating form Wayne State University with a BFA in painting. Numerous canvasses later, he is once again also revisiting his musical side, returning to song writing and live performance. Charlie is currently refining his songwriting skills, producing a number of new compositions including instrumental blues/roots music while experimenting with alternative guitar tunings.

Charlie is another person who joined my family this year. I met him through sheer happenstance. My best friend, Catherine Dumke, was getting a house ready to sell the summer of 2011 and needed someone to do some painting; her real estate agent recommended Charlie, who makes a living wielding a larger paintbrush to subsidize his more creative pursuits. Catherine mentioned him from time to time, what a nice person he was, his obvious talents, how much she enjoyed working with him on the house. I don't have a lot of time during summertime, as I'm gardening and doing pottery, so I hadn't had a chance to meet him, although we all thought it would be a good idea, if we could just find the time.

Well, when the power went out at my house for the umpteenth time this summer, I found the time. I needed someplace to store my perishable foods and Catherine offered the use of the refrigerator at the house at which Charlie was painting. So we met. And had this great conversation. And had another one when I picked up the food. And another when I came to help Catherine with some stuff around the house. I mentioned my August garden tour and he asked if he could come and, if so, how much admission was; I said all he needed to do was bring his guitars and play us a song or two.

There are these perfect, rounded moments in life, moments that are so refined and whole the memory of them is indelible.  Such was the moment Charlie launched into his first composition at my garden tour in August 2011. The music rose up through the garden and drifted out over the neighborhood, a perfect union with a late summer day, redolent with warm colors and glowing scents.

Need I say more?

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